Doxorubicin

Generic name: Pronounced as (dox oh roo' bi sin)
Brand names
  • Adriamycin®
  • Rubex®
Click on drug name to hear pronunciation

Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Last Revised - 01/15/2012

Doxorubicin should be administered only into a vein. However, it may leak into surrounding tissue causing severe irritation or damage. Your doctor or nurse will monitor your administration site for this reaction. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: pain, itching, redness, swelling, blisters, or sores in the place where the medication was injected.

Doxorubicin may cause serious or life-threatening heart problems at any time during your treatment or months to years after your treatment has ended. Your doctor will order tests before and during your treatment to see if your heart is working well enough for you to safely receive doxorubicin. These tests may include an electrocardiogram (ECG; test that records the electrical activity of the heart) and an echocardiogram (test that uses sound waves to measure your heart's ability to pump blood). Your doctor may tell you that you should not receive this medication if you have an abnormal heart rate or if the tests show your heart's ability to pump blood has decreased. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any type of heart disease, a heart attack, or radiation (x-ray) therapy to the chest area. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or have ever received certain cancer chemotherapy medications such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), daunorubicin (Cerubidine, DaunoXome), epirubicin (Ellence), idarubicin (Idamycin), mitoxantrone (Novantrone), paclitaxel (Abraxane, Onxol), trastuzumab (Herceptin), or verapamil (Calan, Isoptin). If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: shortness of breath; difficulty breathing; swelling of the hands, feet, ankles or lower legs; or fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat.

Doxorubicin can cause a severe decrease in the number of blood cells in your bone marrow. Your doctor will order laboratory tests regularly before and during your treatment. A decrease in the number of blood cells in your body may cause certain symptoms and may increase the risk that you will develop a serious infection or bleeding. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or have received azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), or progesterone (Provera, Depo-Provera). If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fever, sore throat, ongoing cough and congestion, or other signs of infection; unusual bleeding or bruising; bloody or black, tarry stools; bloody vomit; or vomiting blood or brown material that resembles coffee grounds.

Doxorubicin may increase your risk for developing leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells), especially when it is given in high doses or together with certain other chemotherapy medications and radiation (x-ray) therapy.

Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease. Your doctor may tell you that you should not receive this medication or may change your dose if you have liver disease.

Doxorubicin should be given only under the supervision of a doctor with experience in the use of chemotherapy medications.

Doxorubicin is used in combination with other medications to treat certain types of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, and ovarian cancer; Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system); and certain types of leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells), including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML, ANLL). Doxorubicin is also used alone and in combination with other medications to treat certain types of thyroid cancer and certain types of soft tissue or bone sarcomas (cancer that forms in muscles and bones). It is also used to treat neuroblastoma (a cancer that begins in nerve cells and occurs mainly in children) and Wilms' tumor (a type of kidney cancer that occurs in children). Doxorubicin is in a class of medications called anthracyclines. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Doxorubicin comes as a solution (liquid) or as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. It is usually given once every 21 to 28 days. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.

Doxorubicin is also sometimes used to treat cancer of the uterus, endometrium (lining of the uterus), and cervix (opening of the uterus); prostate cancer (cancer of a male reproductive organ); pancreatic cancer; adrenocortical cancer (cancer in the adrenal glands); liver cancer; Kaposi's sarcoma related to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); Ewing's sarcoma (a type of bone cancer) in children; mesothelioma (cancer in the lining of the chest or abdomen); multiple myeloma (a type of cancer of the bone marrow); and chronic lymphoblastic leukemia (CLL; a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Before receiving doxorubicin injection,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to doxorubicin, daunorubicin (Cerubidine, DaunoXome), epirubicin (Ellence), idarubicin (Idamycin), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in doxorubicin injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: certain chemotherapy medications such as cytarabine (DepoCyt), dexrazoxane (Zinecard), mercaptopurine (Purinethol), streptozocin (Zanosar); phenobarbital (Luminal Sodium); or phenytoin (Dilantin). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Other medications may also interact with doxorubicin, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.

  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any other medical conditions.

  • you should know that doxorubicin may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and may stop sperm production in men. However, you should not assume that you cannot get pregnant or that you cannot get someone else pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin receiving this drug. You should not become pregnant or breast-feed while you are receiving doxorubicin injection. If you become pregnant while receiving doxorubicin, call your doctor. Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Doxorubicin may harm the fetus.

  • do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

  • Doxorubicin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

    • nausea

    • vomiting

    • sores in the mouth and throat

    • loss of appetite (and weight loss)

    • weight gain

    • stomach pain

    • diarrhea

    • increased thirst

    • unusual tiredness or weakness

    • dizziness

    • hair loss

    • separation of fingernail or toenail from the nail bed

    • itchy, red, watery, or irritated eyes

    • eye pain

    • pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet

    • red discoloration of urine (for 1 to 2 days after dose)

  • Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

    • hives

    • skin rash

    • itching

    • difficulty breathing or swallowing

    • seizures

  • Doxorubicin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

  • If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • sores in the mouth and throat

  • fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

  • black and tarry stools

  • red blood in stools

  • bloody vomit

  • vomited material that looks like coffee grounds

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to doxorubicin.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

  • Hydroxydaunomycin Hydrochloride
  • Hydroxydoxorubicin Hydrochloride

Drug Interaction
Triamcinolone Triamcinolone The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be increased when combined with Triamcinolone.
Zidovudine Injection Zidovudine Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Zidovudine.
Trimipramine Trimipramine The metabolism of Trimipramine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Tenofovir Tenofovir The metabolism of Tenofovir can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Tegaserod Tegaserod The metabolism of Tegaserod can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Apomorphine Injection Apomorphine Injection The metabolism of Apomorphine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Tinidazole Tinidazole Tinidazole may decrease the excretion rate of Doxorubicin which could result in a higher serum level.
Voriconazole Voriconazole The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Voriconazole.
Peginterferon Alfa-2a Injection Peginterferon Alfa-2a Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Peginterferon alfa-2a is combined with Doxorubicin.
Darifenacin Darifenacin The metabolism of Darifenacin can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Live Shingles (Zoster) Vaccine (ZVL) Live Shingles (Zoster) Vaccine (ZVL) The risk or severity of infection can be increased when Varicella Zoster Vaccine (Live/attenuated) is combined with Doxorubicin.
Rituximab Injection Rituximab Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Rituximab is combined with Doxorubicin.
Dronabinol Dronabinol Dronabinol may decrease the excretion rate of Doxorubicin which could result in a higher serum level.
Azacitidine Injection Azacitidine Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Azacitidine is combined with Doxorubicin.
Tretinoin Tretinoin The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Tretinoin is combined with Doxorubicin.
Bendamustine Injection Bendamustine Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Bendamustine.
Alemtuzumab Injection (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) Alemtuzumab Injection (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Alemtuzumab is combined with Doxorubicin.
Everolimus Everolimus The metabolism of Everolimus can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Fingolimod Fingolimod Doxorubicin may increase the immunosuppressive activities of Fingolimod.
Eribulin Injection Eribulin Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Eribulin.
Vilazodone Vilazodone The metabolism of Vilazodone can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Belimumab Injection Belimumab Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Belimumab.
Roflumilast Roflumilast Roflumilast may increase the immunosuppressive activities of Doxorubicin.
Linagliptin Linagliptin The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Linagliptin.
Rilpivirine Rilpivirine The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Rilpivirine.
Rivaroxaban Rivaroxaban The risk or severity of bleeding can be increased when Rivaroxaban is combined with Doxorubicin.
Ticagrelor Ticagrelor The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Ticagrelor.
Brentuximab Vedotin Injection Brentuximab Vedotin Injection The metabolism of Brentuximab vedotin can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Ruxolitinib Ruxolitinib The metabolism of Ruxolitinib can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Vandetanib Vandetanib The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Vandetanib.
Vemurafenib Vemurafenib The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Vemurafenib.
Vismodegib Vismodegib Vismodegib may decrease the excretion rate of Doxorubicin which could result in a higher serum level.
Belatacept Injection Belatacept Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Belatacept.
Ivacaftor Ivacaftor The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Ivacaftor.
Axitinib Axitinib The metabolism of Axitinib can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Crizotinib Crizotinib The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Crizotinib.
Pertuzumab Injection Pertuzumab Injection The risk or severity of cardiotoxicity can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Pertuzumab.
Carfilzomib Injection Carfilzomib Injection The serum concentration of Carfilzomib can be increased when it is combined with Doxorubicin.
Enzalutamide Enzalutamide The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Enzalutamide.
Mirabegron Mirabegron The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Mirabegron.
Regorafenib Regorafenib The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Regorafenib.
Bosutinib Bosutinib The metabolism of Bosutinib can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Teriflunomide Teriflunomide The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Teriflunomide.
Icosapent Ethyl Icosapent Ethyl The risk or severity of bleeding can be increased when Icosapent ethyl is combined with Doxorubicin.
Tofacitinib Tofacitinib The metabolism of Tofacitinib can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Alogliptin Alogliptin The metabolism of Alogliptin can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Dimethyl Fumarate Dimethyl Fumarate The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Dimethyl fumarate.
Ponatinib Ponatinib The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Ponatinib.
Pomalidomide Pomalidomide The metabolism of Pomalidomide can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Ado-trastuzumab Emtansine Injection Ado-trastuzumab Emtansine Injection The metabolism of Trastuzumab emtansine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Apixaban Apixaban The risk or severity of bleeding can be increased when Apixaban is combined with Doxorubicin.
Canagliflozin Canagliflozin The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Canagliflozin.
Ospemifene Ospemifene The metabolism of Ospemifene can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Perampanel Perampanel The metabolism of Perampanel can be increased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Lomitapide Lomitapide The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Lomitapide.
Testosterone Injection Testosterone Injection The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be increased when combined with Testosterone.
Ziprasidone Injection Ziprasidone Injection The metabolism of Ziprasidone can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Defibrotide Injection Defibrotide Injection The risk or severity of bleeding can be increased when Defibrotide is combined with Doxorubicin.
Cobicistat Cobicistat The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Cobicistat.
Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin Injection Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Gemtuzumab ozogamicin is combined with Doxorubicin.
Tetrabenazine Tetrabenazine The metabolism of Tetrabenazine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Progestin-Only (drospirenone) Oral Contraceptives Progestin-Only (drospirenone) Oral Contraceptives The metabolism of Drospirenone can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Theophylline Theophylline The metabolism of Theophylline can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Trazodone Trazodone The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be decreased when it is combined with Trazodone.
Tranylcypromine Tranylcypromine The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Tranylcypromine.
Tetracycline Tetracycline The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Tetracycline.
Thioguanine Thioguanine The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Tioguanine is combined with Doxorubicin.
Thioridazine Thioridazine The metabolism of Thioridazine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Benztropine Benztropine The metabolism of Benzatropine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Azathioprine Azathioprine The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Azathioprine is combined with Doxorubicin.
Warfarin Warfarin The serum concentration of Warfarin can be increased when it is combined with Doxorubicin.
Sulfinpyrazone Sulfinpyrazone The metabolism of Sulfinpyrazone can be increased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Valproic Acid Valproic Acid The metabolism of Valproic acid can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Tamoxifen Tamoxifen The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Tamoxifen.
Levothyroxine Levothyroxine The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be decreased when it is combined with Levothyroxine.
Mercaptopurine Mercaptopurine Doxorubicin may increase the hepatotoxic and myelosuppressive activities of Mercaptopurine.
Thiotepa Injection Thiotepa Injection The metabolism of Thiotepa can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Vincristine Injection Vincristine Injection The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Vincristine.
Vinblastine Vinblastine The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be increased when combined with Vinblastine.
Aspirin Aspirin The risk or severity of bleeding can be increased when Acetylsalicylic acid is combined with Doxorubicin.
Timolol Timolol The metabolism of Timolol can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Verapamil Verapamil The serum concentration of Verapamil can be increased when it is combined with Doxorubicin.
Atenolol Atenolol Doxorubicin may decrease the excretion rate of Atenolol which could result in a higher serum level.
Streptozocin Streptozocin The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Streptozocin is combined with Doxorubicin.
Epoetin Alfa, Injection Epoetin Alfa, Injection The risk or severity of Thrombosis can be increased when Erythropoietin is combined with Doxorubicin.
Teniposide Injection Teniposide Injection The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Teniposide.
Tramadol Tramadol The metabolism of Tramadol can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Ticlopidine Ticlopidine The metabolism of Ticlopidine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Gemcitabine Injection Gemcitabine Injection The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Gemcitabine is combined with Doxorubicin.
Indinavir Indinavir Indinavir may decrease the excretion rate of Doxorubicin which could result in a higher serum level.
Zafirlukast Zafirlukast The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Zafirlukast.
Donepezil Donepezil The metabolism of Donepezil can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Nelfinavir Nelfinavir Nelfinavir may decrease the excretion rate of Doxorubicin which could result in a higher serum level.
Sildenafil Sildenafil The serum concentration of Doxorubicin can be increased when it is combined with Sildenafil.
Celecoxib Celecoxib Doxorubicin may decrease the excretion rate of Celecoxib which could result in a higher serum level.
Tolterodine Tolterodine The metabolism of Tolterodine can be decreased when combined with Doxorubicin.
Thalidomide Thalidomide The risk or severity of adverse effects can be increased when Doxorubicin is combined with Thalidomide.
Rabeprazole Rabeprazole The metabolism of Doxorubicin can be decreased when combined with Rabeprazole.

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